01 August 2012

Local mental health services say "Let's get engaged!"

Local mental health services want to know how to ensure people can influence their work. 

'Let's get Engaged!' events are being held across the region  in August and September to gather the views of members of the public, service users, carers, staff and voluntary groups.

The events are being organised by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) in response to feedback and a renewed drive to put service users and carers at the heart of the organisation.

The sessions will look at how AWP currently involves people in its work and makes sure their views are taken into account. Ideas will be sought on how involvement can be improved and how things can be done differently.

There will also be examples of some things that have already been changed as a result of feedback over the last few months. For example, a new service user and carer steering group has been set up to make sure the Trust hears and responds to service user views to improve services.

Service users and carers have been involved in setting up the 'Let's get engaged!' events.

They include Taff Cannon, an ex-combat soldier from Bristol who suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder and feels that few people really understand what this means.

He says, "I'm involved with AWP to make the staff understand. I know it will make a difference in the care and understanding of other veterans like myself who suffer."

His wife Lynda is also helping plan the meetings. She urges others to come along and get involved. "This is a real chance for people to make changes. We need you to find your voice and speak out," she says.

Ian Chandler is a peer mentor with Bristol drug and alcohol services. He says, "Before I got involved I was sceptical. Since getting involved I know my voice has been heard, giving me hope for the future."

Everyone's views are welcome, whether or not they have used mental health services. The outcome of the meetings will be used in the development of the Trust's new engagement and involvement strategy for the next three years.

Hazel Watson, director of nursing, compliance assurance and standards, said, "We are committed to putting service users and carers at the heart of everything we do in AWP and these sessions will be important in helping us hear a wide variety of views.

"Involving people is vital: it gives us a better understanding of the needs of the people we serve and leads to better decisions being made. Our services have to meet the needs of service users and carers and we'll only be able to do that by listening to service users." 

Last year AWP commissioned the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) to undertake a review of service user involvement. This was as a result of concerns over the level, frequency and timeliness of service user involvement. The NSUN report noted that the Trust conducts involvement and engagement activities  in a number of ways and that there is some good practice. It concluded that processes vary in their success and that there are areas that need improvement.  

For more information or to book a place please click here.  A feedback form is also available for anyone unable to come along to a meeting. An AWP representative can also come along to groups in the community to hear people's views. Please note that places per session are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.  

Let's get Engaged will culminate in a major co-production event on 2 October designed to help shape a new Trust community engagement and involvement strategy. Service users, carers, GPs, commissioners, third sector partners and foundation trust members, including AWP staff, are invited to join the discussion which will determine the way we engage in future with everyone interested in mental health. Places are limited so if you would like to come along, please complete the booking form, email engagementandresponsiveness@awp.nhs.uk or call the team on 01249 468 242. We want to ensure that all groups and views are properly represented at the meeting so the deadline for expressing a wish to attend is 15 September.

Cookies on our website

Cookies are used to ensure you get the best browsing experience. No personally identifiable information is collected.
By using our site you agree to these cookies being used. For more information please see our Cookie Policy.